The Pink Panther Snipes Again

Bad Movie Reviews with a Touch of Snark


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Win It All…Or Not

Another week, another pick to give us a chance to Blog Free or Die Hard.  But mostly the former.

The Film:

Win It All

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Uncondensed Version:

Eddie is a laid-back guy who means well yet invariably chooses the worst possible option when it comes down to decision time.  This is in large part due to his gambling addiction, which drives his willingness to settle in other areas of his life as long as he can scrape together enough money to make his rounds at poker.  Although he could work for the family landscaping company, Eddie chooses instead to make some easy money as a parking attendant.

You know from the setup a change is going to come, and it takes the form of a duffel bag full of cash.  All Eddie has to do is babysit the bag while its owner serves a short prison sentence…but I think you know where this is going.  Despite stern advice from Keegan-Michael Key–in a serious-ish role as a friend from Gamblers Anonymous–Eddie decides to borrow just $500 in order to scratch his gambling itch.  It’s not long before $500 turns into $20,000 in debt.

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At this lowest of low points, Eddie finally decides to get his shit together and turn it around for real.  He agrees to work with his brother at the family business, and enjoys having a steady job and getting invested in the company’s success.

Meanwhile, his personal life is taking a turn for the better when he meets Eva, a nurse/single mother.  She meets with approval from Eddie’s family, but he has to earn some serious trust before he can meet Eva’s family.

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Everything seems to be going well until Eddie gets a call from the owner of the duffel bag, who will be released from prison early.  Shit hits the fan for Eddie as the only options springing to mind for making money including borrowing from his brother, becoming a coke dealer, or–you guessed it–gambling.

 

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Eh.  This is sort of bland, and while there’s nothing especially objectionable about Eddie, it was difficult for me to root for him.  Spoiler–this gets a fairly happy ending that doesn’t seem earned.  This was never going to be a gritty drama, but the tone is a bit too upbeat to talk about gambling addiction seriously, and I’m not sure Eddie really lost enough to change his ways for good.  I also felt Keegan-Michael Key was underutilized, but I would say that about a film in which he plays every goddamn character (which I would watch the fuck out of).

Oddly, this is the 2nd film I can tag “gambling problems are hilarious”–the other one being the horrendously awful Alex & Emma.  To be clear, this one is much better and shouldn’t be affiliated with that other film in any way.  Apologies to all involved in the making of this movie.

Would Christa (sorry/not sorry)…bet on this one?  Find out here!


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Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, or: Feminist(?) Rage

Catching up on classics is my favorite thing to do during Blog Free or Die Hard month, and this one has been leaving an approximately 50 foot hole in my heart.

The Film:

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

Where to Watch:

Hoopla

The Uncondensed Version:

It’s not a good time to be in 1950s California—for more reasons than one.  The primary reason being a comet rapidly speeding towards the area, which turns out be a…glowing alien orb?  With a giant alien ghost who has a fondness for diamonds.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  To understand the complex drama unfolding in this film, let’s back up just a little bit.

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A practical and aesthetically pleasing UFO.

Nancy Archer is the first person in town to stumble across the crashed UFO, having just stormed angrily out of the bar where her husband, Harry, was sleazily flirting with his mistress.  Harry would leave his wife except that would mean sacrificing her inheritance and the cushy life he’s grown accustomed to.  As Nancy has a vague history of mental illness, including a sanatorium stay following violent headaches and…falling down(?), it wouldn’t take much for Harry to get her committed for good.

Conveniently, Nancy runs to the police to report her alien sighting, where she is pretty much dismissed as a raving drunk.  And cautioned against wearing diamonds because they might tempt thieves.  Fucking hell.  Is it any wonder she’s going to get super angry (spoiler)?

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RAGE.

Nancy and Harry obviously have a really unhealthy relationship—if unclear before her return home, it is written out when Harry confronts her.  Harry threatens to leave her, which is what supposedly drove her crazy before.  In a really condescending scene, he tucks her in for bed and goes out drinking again.

However, Nancy’s rest is short-lived as the local news is giving a lot of attention to her alien sighting and making pretty fucking rude jokes about finally finding a man to love her.  Fuck off, men.  Determined to prove her sanity, she goes out to the desert and encounters the alien once again.  Her encounter with the alien leaves her in a coma due to radiation…(?) for some reason.  It also turns her into (spoiler spoiler spoiler) a 50 foot woman.

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Everything else was in the wash…

Mandatory scientist with a pipe and incomprehensible German try to figure out what’s going on, reaching the conclusion that women who mature become irrational like middle-aged men.  JFC, dudes.  To cure her, they will need Harry’s permission to operate.  Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

In spite of Harry’s best efforts, Nancy does finally wake up and all hell breaks loose.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

This is one of the early examples in horror where you are just waiting for a specific character to die…but honestly the payoff doesn’t feel worth it.  No one is supposed to come off squeaky clean in this one (at least none of our 3 leads), though my biggest problem with Nancy is that she didn’t crush more skulls.  I really wanted her rampage to be more satisfying and I would have been okay with more or potentially all men dying.  In painful ways, which makes me feel conflicted about the person I’ve become.

Frankly, for a movie entitled Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, the aforementioned 50 foot woman really has very little screen time, and her attack is quite mild.  Does not live up to the poster.  Next time I’d like her to destroy the foundations of our society or at least raze an entire town.

Did Christa embrace the rage here or…let’s be real, there is no other option.  Read her thoughts on this one here!


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Blow Out, or: Another Reason to Celebrate the Death of the Pay Phone

April brings us another round of Blog Free or Die Hard, one of my favorite themes next to Ewan McGregor/Hellraiser month…and every other theme of the blog collab.  This week we opt for a throwback featuring John Travolta, dramatic ’80s scores, and sketchy, sketchy payphones.

The Film:

Blow Out

Where to Watch:

Netflix UK apparently

The Uncondensed Version:

John Travolta has been the sound editor for low-budget horror for the past couple of years.  It’s a living.  The latest picture is presenting a challenge, as he can’t seem to get some of the sounds right, in particular the screams of the slasher victims in the film.  To gather sounds for the film, he decides to somewhat sketchily hang around parks at night and record general nature sounds.  What could possibly go wrong?  You might ask.  Naturally, JT (conveniently, for both John Travolta and his character, Jack Terri) sees something he’s not supposed to see…or rather hears something he shouldn’t.

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Owl be seeing you?  (Not sorry.)

Just before a car dives headlong into the river, passengers inside, JT hears a gunshot and realizes this crash isn’t an accident.  His deep sense of moral conviction doesn’t permit him to remain a bystander, so he jumps in shortly thereafter to help the surviving passenger, a young woman (of course).

While at the hospital, JT learns the victim of the car crash was none other than the fictional Governor McRyan, top contender for the presidential nomination in the upcoming election.  JT is encouraged to keep quiet about the presence of the young woman as this news would only upset McRyan’s family further.  He reluctantly agrees to do what seems like the honorable thing…but is it?

The young woman, Sally, is very confused and agitated in the hospital and eager to leave.  JT brings her to a motel so she can rest, but also so he can obsessively play his recording of the crash to figure out what happened with the accident and why.  Meanwhile, we learn someone really is destroying and covering up evidence surrounding the crash.  Spoiler alert:  It’s John Lithgow.  As we learn soon after, John Lithgow escalates things super fucking quickly.

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Damn it, John.

JT tries to get more information out of Sally about her relationship with McRyan, but she doesn’t take well to this line of questioning.  At this point JT does get really fucking irritating and insists they get a drink since he did save her life and all.  FFS, save a woman from drowning because it’s the right thing to do—not because you expect her to get a goddamn drink with you.

Annoyingly, they do get a drink, but mostly so we can learn about JT’s tragic backstory investigating police corruption.  I sometimes worry about the lack of empathy I have for characters in realistic scenarios, but his story came off as a bit melodramatic and led to some pretty cringey Travolta overacting.

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Nice rabbit foot…

As it turns out, Sally has a dark past of her own, and was part of a conspiracy to ruin McRyan’s political career.  This is apparently all too much for the honorable JT, who you know…probably never saw anything worse in his days of investigating police corruption.

But to return to John Lithgow.  Remember how he was going to take shit too far suddenly?  As part of the conspiracy to eliminate McRyan from the competition, John Lithgow decided to just straight-up eliminate him by shooting out his car tire.  But the plan included Sally’s death and, since she’s one of the few people who can tie all of this back to the conspirators, she needs to die.  John Lithgow actually becomes a serial killer with a fucking garrote watch and all, targeting sex workers who look like Sally so her death won’t seem too out of the ordinary.  TWIS.  TED.

What will happen when John Lithgow poses as a journalist trying to get all of the evidence connecting him to the crime?  If you’re squaring off with someone who has a garrote watch, it’s probably not going to end well.

The Review:

4/5 Pink Panther Heads

The plot is solid, and John Lithgow is obv a delight.  To the extent sociopathic serial killers with goddamn murder watches can be considered a delight.  In true film noir style, the entire movie is incredibly dark, and the ending doesn’t shy away from that.  This is an indictment on politics, Hollywood, the media…virtually every angle of American life.  Since some of the elements of this film are right out of the ’80s thriller playbook, I expected a cop-out ending, but ended up really impressed.

On the other hand, there’s just something that vaguely irritates me about John Travolta no matter what…?  I think I watched Grease too much growing up, and he was one of the first men to disappoint me with his stupid expectations for women.

I also had such a problem with the roles for women in this film, who are all props without exception.  I really wanted to like Sally, but she just felt like a pawn with no real dimension, and she was soooooooooooooooooooooooo naïve for a woman who agreed to a sleazy plot to set up a politician, And as a minor point of irritation–her voice was really grating.  She brought up shades of Lina Lamont from Singin’ in the Rain to me.  Is it me or is Lina Lamont still more of a feminist icon than Sally in this movie?

Would Christa dive off a bridge for this one or let it sleep with the fishes?  Find out here!


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Resurrección, or: No Mo’ Poe

This week takes us back in time again to another, er, true event(?).  True in the sense it was a real historical event…except with demons.

The Film:

Resurrección

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Uncondensed Version:

It’s 1871 Argentina, and the Catholic Church is strong but so is the outbreak of yellow fever, the worst in the history of Buenos Aires.  After having visions of the plague, a young priest decides it’s God’s will that he head to BA and help the sick.  But not before stabbing himself in the hands with a cross, which is pretty gross honestly.  But not as gross as it’s going to get with all of the vomiting that happens in this film.

Before going into the city, the priest makes a pit stop at the family estate, where his brother and family live (I don’t remember him ever having a name, but I also have a notoriously bad memory for character names).

What is meant to be a fond family reunion quickly devolves (don’t they always) when the priest learns his brother Edgardo is gravely ill with yellow fever, and his wife is holed up in the chapel with their daughter, Remedios.  She will neither let anyone enter or leave, though Remedios expresses her desire to leave.

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U ok, bro?

When a man who is essentially a faith healer shows up, the priest insists he leave and stop taking advantage of desperate people.  The healer answers that he has the power to cure the priest’s faith problem, blah di blah, but leaves.  Maybe the family should have taken the healer up on his offer, as Edgardo is in pretty bad shape—sweating, talking nonsense, and vomiting up black blood.  Btw, I looked it up, and the black blood really was a symptom during this outbreak, and people even referred to the fever as the black vomit.  Suffice it to say it looks really fucking unpleasant.

Just before dying, Edgardo gives his brother a journal that will explain everything because of course he does.  Oh, and also takes one last stab at the conviction of his brother’s faith.

The only conclusion the priest can make is some weird shit is going on, since obviously the journal goes missing before he can read it.  He senses there is something sinister that his brother feared more than his illness and death and is determined to get to the bottom of it, but first on his to-do list is helping Remedios escape the chapel.

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Despite what Pinterest suggests, you CAN have too many candles.

All of this is thrown off track, however, when the priest comes down with yellow fever too.  This means a series of trippy, surreal dream sequences that look cool but are confusing AF.

After waking up from his nightmarish sleep, the priest learns a shocking truth from Quispe, who has served the family for years:  the priest’s sister-in-law, Lucia, killed Remedios and herself overnight.  The priest refuses to believe this and is determined to find out what really happened.

It goes a bit off the rails from here on out, with Quispe going off on a tangent about how much of a dick his dad was, and then the priest’s dad was also a dick but at least he watched him die (!?!?!).  Quispe doesn’t pull any punches, telling the priest if he vomits black blood, he’ll be dead within a day.  Great?

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“Hand me the keys, you fairy godmother!”

As he becomes more seriously ill, the priest finds Lucia and Remedios alive, though Quispe insists this is a delusion.  The priest finally breaks down and calls for the faith healer, abandoning his Catholic faith and putting his trust in…I don’t know, something that looks like a tiny carved bone?  You do you.

This of course isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and the priest immediately regrets his decision when the Catholic guilt returns with a vengeance.  The ending is straight out of Poe, except without the suspense, emotional punch, and the feeling of everything all clicking into place.  Just leave Poe alone, sir.

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

I really wanted to go with 3, but there’s too little going on here to merit that extra PPH.  Guess how much fun it is to watch a feverish Argentine priest stumble around for an hour and a half with complete conviction that what he’s doing is important and makes sense.

There is virtually no suspense as it’s impossible to care about the characters and their motives.  I still don’t understand why the priest cared so much about Remedios.  Ok, she was his niece, but you’re going to have to do better than that to tell a good story.  This goes against everything I’ve ever said about movies, but you know what this could have used more of?  Some goddamn flashbacks to establish the fucking character relationships.  Without that anchor, this film is emotionally empty.

Based on the trailer, this looked like a shitty version of Guillermo del Toro…which is pretty accurate, honestly.  The del Toro tribute just feels like a rip-off, though, from the Gothic vibe to the haunting narration at the end (which is almost a paraphrase of the conclusion of Devil’s Backbone, but just falls flat here).

Every time someone tells me they’ve never seen Devil’s Backbone, I lose 6 months of my life, so do us both a favor and watch that instead.

Did Christa put her faith in this one or remain a critical skeptic?  Find out here!


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Backtrack, or: I Do Nazi the Point of This Movie

So maybe you’ve thought off-hand that you must have done something terrible in a past life to deserve a series of lamentable circumstances in the present.  Like…the global political climate, for example.  Perhaps as you’ve considered this possibility, you’ve used a series of clichéd expressions and non-sequiturs to frame what is already something of a cliché.  That’s this film in a nutshell…with Nazis.  And, coincidentally, we must have all offended the forces of the universe to deserve this movie.

The Film:

Backtrack:  Nazi Regression

Where to Watch:

Amazon Prime (US)

The Premise:

What’s more fun than a walking holiday with your partner and two of your closest friends?  Exploring a possible Nazi past life through hypnotism while your girlfriend hooks up with your friend’s boyfriend and a deranged kidnapper stalks you.

The Uncondensed Version:

Claudia has an incredibly vague and convenient talent for looking into the past and future.  While on a walking holiday with her friends seems to be the perfect opportunity to test out her abilities.  Specifically, to explore the secret Nazi life of friend Ralph.  Learning about his past life is…important?  For some reason?  As it turns out, Ralph had a Nazi family in his past life, and something bad seems to have happened to them.

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A fun hobby to try explaining during interviews.

Meanwhile, Andrea and Lucas (who looks 12), the respective partners of Ralph and Claudia are fine with this turn of events as they’re off having sex constantly and/or complaining about all the walking…ON A WALKING HOLIDAY.  Too tired to deal with this shit, Andrea and Lucas go off to find the local pub.  Once there, they are greeted by an incredibly creepy bartender.  I kind of expected him to get along well with Lucas because they are both so fucking sleazy.

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Is he reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally old enough to be in a bar, though?  Is he REALLY?

Later, as Andrea and Lucas have yet another weirdly shot sex scene, a mysterious figure who we’ve heard talking to himself throughout the entire movie approaches their tent.  He hits Lucas and ties up both parties.  Whoa.  Is that where this film is heading, i.e. torture porn territory?  Apparently so.  There are some absolutely disgusting scenes that feel endless where this guy burns his victims with a lot of camera close-ups.  I hope you realize I don’t say that lightly given the massive number of B horror movies featured in this blog collab.

After being asked once, Andrea immediately reveals where the other two have gone.  Look, I’m not saying I’d do any better if a creepy kidnapper started asking me questions, but come on.

Btw, did I mention all of this is happening in broad daylight?  And he moves his victims in the back of a tractor wagon?  Super inconspicuous.

Conveniently, when Claudia and Ralph return to the campsite, Claudia senses that Andrea and Lucas were abducted after the odd camera angles of their sex scene.  The answer to all of their questions is supposedly to do another Nazi past life regression.  This is interrupted by the most unintentionally hilarious attempted abduction scene in film, in which the creepy shadowy dude tries to basically tow their tent with his tractor.  Unsurprisingly, they can get out of that one pretty easily.

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IDK if I should really be laughing so hard about kidnapping.

However, when he does catch up with Claudia and Ralph, he is intent on exacting revenge for some unknown offense.  You’ll have to watch to see what happens, why, and if you even fucking care by the time any of this happens.  But honestly, if you ask nicely, I’ll probably just tell you how it ends.

Top 5 Lines of Dialogue:

5. “It’s better to know than not know.”

4. Andrea: A man hit you, tied us up, and brought us here.

Lucas (outraged): WHY?!

3. Julian Glover (dramatically, to a grave): You shall be avenged!

2. “If you untie us now and let us go, we’ll be on our way and the whole thing won’t be mentioned.”

1. “I’ve lived before…even if I was a Nazi.”

The Rating:

1/5 Angry PPHs

So bad, guys.  So, so bad.

I tried to think of small things about this film that could be changed to improve it, and I drew a blank.  On the bright side, the scenery is pretty?   Fucking hell, though, those burn scenes are vile.  And though as viewers we are obviously supposed to hate the cheaters and like the other two characters, they are all sooooooooooooooooooo bland.  Sub-par, even for a Nazi B movie.

Would Christa go along with this one or roll on out of the tent ASAP?  Find out here!


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The Veil, or: Don’t Drink the…Poison Cubes?

After a brief hiatus, the blog collab is back with a vengeance.  Specifically, the kind of vengeance only provided by horror (very loosely) based on the Jonestown mass murder/suicide.  I’m probably being surveilled now based on my recent search history as I fact checked this film.  Word of caution:  if you are into the historical angle of this film, maybe just watch a documentary?  The one from 2006 that aired on PBS is really interesting.

The Film:

The Veil

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Uncondensed Version:

So Heaven’s Veil is the Jonestown of this film, and like its real-life inspiration, was the site of a religious cult’s mass murder/suicide.  This film seeks a supernatural explanation of the events of Jonestown and asks the (highly original) question—What if a fringe religious group really did find the secret to resurrection and eternal life promised in Christianity?

As our film opens, we discover there was one survivor, Sarah Hope, who was found creepily sitting amongst the dead and insisting “he” will bring them back.  Shudder.  With no idea of her biological parents or birth name, all members of known immediate and extended family dead, and being raised in foster care, it’s safe to say Sarah had a pretty shitty childhood.

25 years after the fact, Sarah receives an offer from Jessica Alba, aka Maggie, amateur filmmaker with a secret haunted past that we discover after about 10 minutes.  As it turns out, Maggie’s family was destroyed by the events at Heaven’s Veil after her father, the lead FBI investigator, killed himself several months later (though there are some really BS-y moments wherein she conflates the experience of her father’s suicide with Sarah’s experience as the sole survivor of the mass murder/suicide of her community).

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Scooby and the gang.

Maggie has somehow uncovered a major detail that no one has noticed before:  there were reels of films made and stored somewhere in the Heaven’s Veil commune, and if she and her crew can finally locate these films, she will finally learn the truth.  Or you could just watch the Jonestown documentary, honestly.  It really is done extremely well.

Things begin to go badly right away, as one of the crew goes missing with the van only to turn up dead.

Via flashbacks, we learn that Jim Jacobs seemed to have an ability to heal and even separate his spirit and go body hopping.  By injecting himself with highly toxic venom and delaying use of the antidote for as long as possible, he’s brought closer to death, thus enhancing his powers.  B/c…you know.  Obviously it does.

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Aviators are next to godliness.

While two of the other crew members go for help, the rest of the team searches for the films.  Unluckily enough, Sarah stumbles upon a body inside the super secret house only she can find.  As we learn later, this is the body of a close follower of JJ, a nurse who helped with his venom experiments, and none other than Sarah’s biological mother.  I wonder who the baby daddy is, you may be thinking to yourself.  If you’ve never seen a movie before.   Believe that you know the answer to this because you do.

While the crew finds and watches the film reels, more and more of the team members are picked off yet eerily return.

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Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy!

As JJ explains to his followers, death is the only way to be reborn…which they will all accomplish and then release all other humans from life.  It turns out leading the FBI raid on the complex was a dick move on the part of Maggie’s dad, who prevented all of these people from receiving the antidote and being resurrected.  I guess?

So this explains why the Heaven’s Veilers decided to kill themselves, though it still leaves many opportunities for questions, confusion, and considerable general gaps in logic.

Armed with the truth at last, does it even fucking matter when the crew is stuck in horror cliché hell?

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

Almost went with 3/5 b/c Jim Jacobs is so much fun to watch, but the rest of the film is almost deliberately forgettable.  Thomas Jane is believable as the charismatic yet psychotic Jim Jacobs, and seems to truly relish playing the role.

One major sticking point for me towards the end:  I was really annoyed with Maggie’s repeated apologies on behalf of her father.  1.  She was in no way responsible for his actions.  2.  He didn’t force anyone to drink the Kool Aid, as it were (in this case they are poison cubes [sadly not Rubik’s cubes of doom a la Hellraiser]).  3.  The goal of the mass murder/suicide was to return and KILL EVERYONE with their rebirth superpowers.  There’s literally no reason to apologize here.

The twist of Sarah not being quite as innocent as we’re led to believe is nicely done, but every other moment feels straight out of the horror handbook.  With the added insult of an interesting premise that had a lot of potential, this is an extra disappointing feature.  Once again, the lesson we can learn here is to always lower your expectations.

Would Christa follow this one to the commune or give it her share of poison cube?  Find out here!


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Feminist February: Paris Is Burning

Feminist February is going out with a bang.  We’re crossing off classics from our movie bucket lists, unintentionally synchronizing our film choices when we’re not even trying, and posting on 2 films for the price of 1.

The Film:

Paris Is Burning

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Uncondensed Version:

This is a classic documentary now, filmed 30ish years ago and giving a mainstream audience the inside story of drag balls in NYC.  Classically for drag queens to dress up in a Vegas showgirl style complete with feathers and sequins, ‘80s balls expanded to many categories giving attendees the chance to strut their stuff in military uniform, business suits, school girls, jockeys, realness…there’s virtually no limit to the number of possibilities.

Our first introduction is through Pepper LaBeija, who considers herself reigning queen of Harlem balls (even though not everyone would agree with this characterization).  In her own words, “I never felt comfortable being poor, and being middle class doesn’t suit me.”  Balls give participants a taste of glamour and fame they otherwise wouldn’t get.  One participant calls it a high that won’t hurt you.

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I really feel my captions can add nothing of value to this moment.

Another theme that weaves throughout this film is the family found in ball culture—and the houses that pop up and feud with each other.  Many of those interviewed share their stories of being loved but not accepted—or completely rejected by their families.  Each house has a mother who leads the family and takes care of them, while unapologetically calling bullshit.

Feuds between houses means a LOT of shade gets thrown, and really aggressive voguing takes place.  Willi Ninja is an absolute master of voguing—a dance-off involving moves and poses inspired by fashion magazines like Vogue.  His take-down of his opponent revolves around pantomiming applying his own makeup, holding up an invisible mirror, and pretending to apply makeup to his competitor.  If you watch nothing else of this, watch that clip.  Later, Willi ends doing really well for himself, popping up in music videos, modelling, and doing choreography left and right.

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Venus Xtravaganza is a transwoman who participates in balls and desperately wants to earn enough money for sex reassignment surgery.  She works as an escort and seems to enjoy the sweetness of some of her clients.  Devastatingly, however, we find out Venus was later strangled and found 4 days after the fact.  I couldn’t help thinking immediately of the number of transwomen who have already been murdered this year and wonder how much has really changed.

Dorian Corey is one of my favorites—an older and somewhat more cynical drag queen who wanted to be Lena Horne when she was younger.  She wraps things up for us with her aloof realism.  She had so many dreams when she was younger, but eventually aimed lower.  You may want to make a mark on the world when you’re young—but you’ve left a mark if you just get through it.  (This is especially badass if you Google Dorian Corey and the MUMMIFIED body found in her apartment after her death.  WHERE is the Lifetime movie version of this.)

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The Rating:

5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I wasn’t going to go with 5 b/c I feel that’s almost the equivalent of saying “Casablanca is a really good movie,” but there’s no other option.  This is a fascinating but balanced glimpse into a culture discriminated against by race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.  Even as balls bring them together, they feud and toss insults at each other.  Those interviewed are deeply sympathetic but don’t shy away from their flaws and disagreements.  Some want sex reassignment surgery, while others speculate those who opt for it may regret it later.

There are lines throughout that are incredibly poignant, especially in light of many featured in this film dying quite young.  The subjects of this film are extremely socially aware as well, since most are black, LGBT, and economically disadvantaged in a system that wants to keep it that way.

I don’t think I can review this without at least mentioning that several of the participants felt they were owed money by the filmmakers.

Is this the mother of my blog wife’s house or would she throw some serious shade at it?  Find out here!

BONUS ROUND:  I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Since we both watched (and loved) this film over the weekend too, a few words about it.

There’s something slightly Coen brothers-esque about this one–it’s very funny with hints of violence beneath the surface that suddenly bubble up and spiral out of control.  So many bodies pile up for a movie about a depressed woman finding her grandmother’s stolen silverware with the help of a neighbor who overestimates his martial arts skills (Elijah Wood [with a beard and rat tail?!?!?!]).  Though, of course, that’s not what this movie is really about at all.

This film captures how confusing and deeply disturbing it is to be alive, especially if you are seeking either reason or compassion from your fellow humans.  Ruth doesn’t realize how quickly her life can become a (wo)man vs man vs nature struggle, and how easily the lizard part of our brains can take over.  I related so hard to Ruth’s feelings of despair about humanity and the world we live in, and her determination to find meaning in the face of really horrible existential questions.

That being said, it really is very fun to watch and has some great comedic moments.  Melanie Lynskey is perfect in this role–she looks and acts the way a normal human woman would rather than suddenly absorbing assassin skills while wearing 6 inch stilettos (though I’d watch that movie too).  IOU a longer review, IDFAHITWA.